Thank you, Melissa, for inviting me to guest blog!
I write interconnected stories all the time. My novels are series, where characters from one pop in on another from time to time…sometimes more than others. I wrote a series of short stories, Wanton Wives, in which all of the individual stories combined to tell a greater, overall story. There are even characters from my novels who’ve shown up in the short stories, and who have moved from one series to another.
Needless to say, the idea of writing a story involving numerous other characters who had their own stories did not intimidate me.
But when a few of my critique partners approached me with the idea of taking part in an anthology, where all of the characters belonged to the same greater family, I got a little nervous.
For two reasons, actually. The first nerve-inducing thing was that they wanted me to write a novella. I’d never successfully written a novella before. Short stories, yes. But anything longer than that tends to turn into a full-length novel in my hands. I didn’t know if I could keep the idea small enough to write a shorter story that still felt complete. The second reason was that I tend to write the characters that I write, and they interact with the other characters in my head, but I’d never had them interact with another writer’s characters. What if I screwed it up?
Writing this anthology, for all of us, turned into an incredible experiment. We sent emails back and forth constantly. “Would your character be available on X day at Y time for me to use them in Z capacity?” “Um, sorry, but my character would NEVER say, ‘Balderdash.’” “Has anyone given J character a hair color yet? If not, I’m saying it is red.”
Some worked very closely together, as their characters were siblings (or even twins!), and so they had to all know the history of the others. Others took a branch of the family tree and kept to themselves, so as not to have to deal with too many spare characters popping in and out of their stories.
I think we all would say, however, that it was both a positive experience and, at times, a trying experience.
So, what do we have to show for it? The Regency Christmas Anthology, twelve novellas in four collections. The powerful Duke of Danby has ordered all of his wayward grandchildren to return to Danby Castle for Christmas. You’ll have to read them to see what takes place.
Have you ever done something you were intimidated to do? How did it turn out? If you leave a comment and include your email address with it, you’ll be entered in a huge drawing for prizes, including books, gift cards, and even a Kindle. More info at http://www.catherinegayle.com/news.html.
My novella, An Unintended Journey, is in the third collection: A Summons From the Castle.
What once was lost…
Abby Goddard’s life is going along just swimmingly, apart from the disappearance of her life’s love—Wesley Cavendish, a man well above her station. Just before Christmas, Grandmama dies after revealing the identity of Abby’s grandfather. The Duke of Danby, no less. Now the entire family will travel to Yorkshire to confront Danby, hoping to gain a dowry for Abby. But then Wesley reemerges, sparking a hope Abby thought long destroyed.
Now is found…
Shall the prodigal son’s sole inheritance be an unsightly gash? Wesley Cavendish aspires to the political realm, despite his father’s near-murderous opposition…not to mention his opposition to Abby Goddard. But since Father died, will the new Earl of Fordingham rescind Father’s disgraceful allegations? Fordingham thwarts Wesley at every turn, threatening marriage to a prominent Tory family—which precludes Abby—to put an end to Wesley’s Whig involvement…unless Wesley can find a loophole.
You can buy A Summons From the Castle at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords. Look for the other collections at those same websites, as well: A Summons From Yorkshire, A Summons From the Duke, and A Summons From His Grace.